Late on Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally announced that the House is launching an “official impeachment inquiry” into President Donald Trump, setting the stage for a dramatic clash a little more than a year before the next presidential election. It marks just the fourth time in history that a president will face possible impeachment.
“Today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” said Pelosi at the Capitol, according to a report by CBS News.
Pelosi has previously battled against calls by some progressive lawmakers to move forward with impeachment proceedings. However, after the Trump administration refused to hand over a recent whistleblower complaint and news about a call between Trump and Ukrainian leadership spread, a tipping point appeared to be reached.
“This week, the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically,” said Pelosi during the announcement. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
Trump recently admitted to talking about former vice president Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president during a conversation that discussed fighting “corruption.” The president reportedly pressured Ukraine’s president to launch an investigation into Biden’s son. Trump has also requested that military aid to the nation be put on hold prior to the conversation with the Ukrainian leader.
In August, the whistleblower filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general regarding an interaction between Trump and the foreign leader. The inspector general deemed the complaint to be an “urgent concern,” which would typically lead to Congress being made aware of the full nature of the complaint.
However, the acting director of national intelligence, after consulting with the Justice Department and the White House, came to a different conclusion, then refusing to provide the complaint to Congress.
Pelosi asserts that not providing the complaint to congressional committees was a “violation of the law” and that the decision “undermine[s] both our national security and our intelligence.”